knight wearing armor and holding two-handed sword

I put Teddy’s leash on. Us being in a land in which I do not live, I didn’t want to take any chances. He could bolt, or worse, he could attack something. So the leash went on and we went off up the hill and into the Californian Redwood Forest.

Not long into the hike we came across a park ranger who presented me with the weirdest news I’ve received in a while: dogs aren’t allowed in American National Forests or Californian State Forests. (Listen to This: Man Up! Podcast – Freedom)

You do know this is outside? I asked. As in, outdoors, as in ‘free space’.

It’s for the safety of the owner and their pet, the ranger said as if they were saving me from something. My response was easy…

I come from Alberta, Canada, where we have grizzlies and black bears and moose and mountain lions and wolves and we’re still allowed to take our dogs anywhere we want.

These are dumb rules. The ‘dog’s not allowed’ are inhibitive rules that prevent freedom and individual liberty. We’re not talking about these rules in this article.

This article is all about freedom, and within rules you’ll find true freedom.

Think of it this way…

If you don’t lay out rules for your own life to govern how you work and get shit done, how you use your time, you won’t have the freedom to buy a house or land or travel because your time will be cluttered and useless.

Rules from a source of strength are good and necessary to live a flourishing life.

Rules coming from a place of fear inhibit freedom and liberty and hand it over to the rule maker.

We’re making this list not from a place of fear, but from a place of strength and wisdom, knowing that in order to live a flourishing life, our focus must be strategic, and our days must be won.

The following rules thus separate them men from the boys. Boys can be dependents. They can look to others for strength, for handouts, to make rules that protect them. Men have always had to protect, provide, and procreate.

The 7 Rules That Separate Men from Males

Ancient Greek warrior fighting in the combat

1. Dare mightily.

In defining what it is to be a man and not just a male, a higher standard has to be formed. A man has a certain set of values that are born over thousands of years of fitting into a role, one of protector, defender, and explorer.

Men mapped North America. Men conquered the west and they also defended it, fought to keep it. Men defeated Hitler. Men fought for the South, and the North.

Males, today at least, are afraid of strength, they’re vain, they’re afraid of commitment, of leadership, of responsibility. To be the antithesis of the modern norm is to be a man, and men dare mightily.

Every man I’ve come across, be it my old man or his best pal or the good buddies I’m blessed to have all see life as a gift. They see the sacrifices others made to get them where they are, be it those brave souls who defeated Hitler whom they may or may not know, or their folks, their grandparents, and their ancestors. They see life as a gift from their Maker. To waste the gift living a life of mediocrity, never pushing its boundaries, never taking steps in the direction of their fears, is to discard the sacrifices made in their benefit.

You can live a mediocre life. Actually you can’t. You can exist in mediocrity, but to live you’re going to have to think a little bigger, and do those things that scare you.

2. Do one thing at a time.

There aren’t secrets to success, but there are simple things you can add to your day, your routine, your process that will help you achieve more, no matter what it is that you do. (Read This: 9 Lessons in Business and Life Learned Over the Last 3 Months)

A singular focus is one of them.

The formula goes as follows:

Figure out the most important thing you need to be focusing on in a given moment, and focus on nothing else.

This thing can be something within your work, your family life, or where you are in a given moment. When you’re with your kids, be with your kids. When you’re working, work on the most important task first and only that task. Shut off your phone, the internet, the TV, or anything else that will bring you out of this moment.

This isn’t ground-breaking stuff, but having this as a rule, something you don’t break, will make you a much better man.

The more you compartmentalise, the better. The more you leave where you’ve been and be where you are the more you’re going to get out of where you are, and more importantly, the more you’re going to give to where you are and who you’re with and what you’re doing.

3. Get stronger, not fatter.

Improve. Simply put, improve in every area of your life, every day. High school reunions are great little events usually filled with fatter faces and bigger belly’s.

The excuse of responsibilities, family, duties, usually precedes the explanation as to why people have gotten so fat. But that makes little sense.

If you have others depending on you, is it not your duty to be in better physical shape when you were just taking care of yourself?

Time, that wonderful excuse that also makes no sense. Can you not get up earlier?

Of course you can.

As a rule, get stronger, not fatter.

Spend your years thinking of ways to get in better shape, to get stronger, healthier, better at being a man. This cannot mean don’t enjoy life. Beer and whiskey and fine foods should be a part of your life, always. A life without a cold beer at the end of a long work week isn’t much of a life.

With that said, stay active. Get into hiking or hunting. Switch up your training. Join a boxing gym. Learn how to fight.

Don’t slip into the fat existence that everyone seems to adopt as they age

This should be a rule. Not an opinion.

4. Be elite.

Our idea of what we are and who we can be is set at a young age. We either think we’re leaders or followers, elite or mediocre. You have to change your view of what you can be immediately.

To be anything less than elite in every aspect of life is a waste. Why the fuck would anyone want to be okay?

If you do something, become great at it.

Don’t be in average shape, get in great shape. Don’t set safe goals, dare mightily, live audaciously. Stop being mediocre.

You can take this pursuit into every corner of your life and use your own definitions within it. It shouldn’t, however, merely be an intention, but a rule.

Be elite.

Put the effort in required to be elite. Have the discipline to say no to what will hold you back and yes to what will push you forward. Remove humans from your life that bring you down and bring more people in your life that are after a similar pursuit, even if it’s in a different field.

But don’t be average. Don’t be content with being average. And average isn’t in comparison to others, but in relation to who you are now and where your potential lies somewhere in the far off future.

5. Be able to be a protector.

5,000 years ago you’d have been born to protect. Yes, provide and procreate, but most importantly to protect. If you can’t protect, then who are you going to provide for and who are you going to procreate with?

This highlights the stark difference between a male and a man. A male can be confused about his gender. A male can be adamantly against defined gender roles. A male can be consumed with his looks and oblivious to his purpose.

A male can be a pussy. A man can’t.

A man will call 9-1-1, but he won’t depend on someone who’s 15 minutes away for his protection. This role may never even be enacted, but you have to have the capacity to carry it through if the situation ever presents itself.

So, learn how to use a gun. Learn how to fight. Lift weights and get strong. Join a boxing gym and see what it’s like to punch someone in the face and to get punched in the face.

Part of your purpose is to be of some value to others, and as a man this means you’re at least able to protect those under your care.

6. Thrive in the darkness.

When we’re in them they seem like they’re infinite. We see nothing but what we’re in, the failure, the despair, the loss, the poverty, and yet we’re not actually in the darkness.

Years later when we’ve climbed our way out of it, if we’re perceptive enough, we’ll realize that these times of loss, failure, or despair were actually great, filled with opportunity, blanketed with life lessons that, if we’d been in it rather than wishing we were out of it, we would have learned a lot more and at a quicker pace.

When darkness enters our lives we immediately wish we weren’t it in, we look for things to momentarily bring us out of it, maybe a purchase or a trip, which brings up an interesting point. (Read This: It Would Be a Tragedy to Never Face Adversity)

Religion is more prevalent among the poor than the affluent. The lazy reasoning is education. The explanation goes that because there’s a greater educated populace, fewer believe in things like religion. Ask anyone who hikes or hunts and really gets out there, though, and they’ll admit there’s something. Get out of the liberal dominated world of colleges and into the real world and you’ll find the same.

Go into poor towns in poorer parts of the world where they can’t book a trip or bar a trinket to momentarily escape whatever darkness they’re in and you’ll find a greater sense of faith.

I’m not pushing religion but merely urging people to be in it rather than avoiding it. That is, be in life, with all of its highs and lows and without seeking a band-aide for relief.

Deal with the shit that enters your life like a man, head on.

Within every ounce of suffering there’s meaning and it’s up to the individual to figure out what that meaning is. No one can do this for you and you should want them to try. This is your life, your journey, and your struggle. Find the meaning in your suffering.

7. Don’t be a little bitch.

Never complain.

Most casual conversations seem to begin with a complaint.

Oh, this weather.

My boss is an ass.

Work has been a bitch.

Don’t envy. Don’t complain. And don’t whine.

Think about the men in your life who you look up to and respect. Think of your old man, your grandfather, maybe a teacher or a priest or a guide you knew or know.

They couldn’t have been whiners.

So why are you whining?

A man has to be a problem solver, not a problem identifier or creator. You’re the guy others rely on to bear the brunt of their burdens, no one wants to hear about your own. So shut up and carry on!

This rule should be a necessity for everyone, not just men, but why can’t you lead the way?

Why can’t you search for the good rather than doing all you can to find the bad?

Man up. Stop being a little bitch.

About The Author

Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live. He’ll give you the kick in the ass needed to help you live a big, ambitious life.
You can contact him at –